January/February 1998

Orrin Evans
Justin Time
Criss Cross Jazz

On this debut recording of Orrin Evans, a pianist whose very name recalls the Riverside label of the '50s, we hear a young musician who, though not yet spectacular in his own right, emerges as an intriguing talent with roots in Monk, Bud, Horace and, especially, that other, older Evans. Joined by Hubbard-tinged trumpeter John Swana, deep-toned tenorman Tim Warfield, bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Byron Landham, Evans divides his presentation quite judiciously. He avoids the expected straight-on quintet format by using his two hornmen in tandem only on the first and last of the nine tunes, delegating the remainder to duo, trio, and quartet configurations, of which Warfield's funereally paced "It Had To Be You" and "My Shining Hour" are standouts. Evans' much slower than usual interpretation of "Tune Up" is also a head-turner.

Originally published in January/February 1998
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